simple joys: seasonal candles

I’ve been seriously getting in the mood for the next few holiday filled months – Charlie’s birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and then another little one’s birthday to celebrate in February! It’s not feeling much like fall yet in Florida – and probably won’t until it’s snowing everywhere up north. Not the worst problem in the world. Even here though – the air is feeling just the tiniest bit lighter – humidity letting up just a fraction and cooling off enough in the evenings for a jaunt around the neighborhood.

I’ve been bringing the fall feeling into our house bit by bit over the last few weeks. A yarn pumpkin garland on the mantle (a great how to here, if you’re up for a seasonal craft), a wooden witch and scarecrow from mom, mini pumpkins in every windowsill, gourds on the table and ghosts on the front porch. But my real piece of simple seasonal joy comes after Charlie goes to bed every night. After gently shutting his bedroom door, Mike and I tuck away the last of the dishes in the dishwasher and straighten up the day’s ephemera – pushing chairs in, tossing dirty socks in the hamper, stray blocks put in their basket. I throw snacks into lunch boxes and put coffee grounds and water in the pot for the next morning before making my way back into the living room.

But before that ever satisfying moment of sitting down on the couch and being done for the day – I’ve been taking a detour to the mantle to light the current candle on rotation – Apple Pumpkin. There’s nothing particularly fancy about it. I picked it up a few weeks ago at Wal-Mart for a few dollars. There’s just something about a candle burning bright that makes it feel so cozy and festive in the house. It’s nearly down to the bottom of the jar (I burnt my finger trying to light it the other day), which means I’m about due for a brand new candle. A five dollar investment that has been bringing me such a nice little spark of joy lately. It’s a nightly event that adds to the festive air of the holidays – Cranberry Mandarin for Thanksgiving, Frasier Fir for Christmas, and pumpkin everything in between. Just a little flame of happiness sitting on the mantle for cozy weeknights at home.

swimwear for a modest mama.

In a large box under my bed lives my mix and match collection of bikinis from the last ten or so years. I pull it out nearly every weekend to throw on a suit for the beach, but I’ve been having mixed feelings about them lately. I just feel so exposed! I will be forever amazed at the human body and the changes it goes through during pregnancy and after, but it’s not like it all goes right back to normal even once you’re back to your pre-baby weight. Speaking of – I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight (woot woot!), and I’m feeling really good about it, but I feel a little different in a bikini these days. I’m proud of my body and the way it looks, but I think it’s also ok to cover up a little bit more if that’s what feels right. I don’t know if I’m putting up my bikinis forever, but I’m loving the look and feel of one-pieces right now.

Well, the other day I came home from the store with a one-piece swimsuit. And Mikey was not a huge fan. “What’s wrong with your bikinis? You look so good!” Sweetest man alive. He’s always been amused with my modesty, or “mom-style” when it comes to clothes. (I have one dress that he calls my Mennonite dress, and he thinks my love of overalls is hilarious, which is fair.) But now my mom-style has carried over to the beach and it’s been a discussion lately. I’ve been hunting around for swimwear that maybe will strike a happier medium and I found a few that I love.

A basic one piece with a strappy back.

Hot pink number in a classic scoop style.

Romantic blue flowers with the sweetest scallop detail and a halter top.

My favorite of the bunch with real embroidery and adjustable straps.

Definitely a splurge item, but I love the shape and the slim back strap detail.